Lakers to Face Competition for Key Free Agent From Knicks: Report

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

Based on how this season has gone, it appears that the New York Knicks are officially back. They are currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and look like legit contenders for the first time in a long time. However, they are still a couple of pieces away from building a consistent title threat.

One position that they need to address is starting point guard. Elfrid Payton is a solid player but not a star. Derrick Rose is one of the best sixth men in the NBA but his days as a starter are in the past. The Knicks know they need a starting point guard and they are going to swing for the fences this offseason and could also target a Los Angeles Lakers starter, according to Ian Begley of SNY.

“They’re keeping an eye on Damian Lillard and any other star who may seek a trade if things go sideways with their current franchises,” Begley wrote. “They also have guards like Dennis Schroder, Lonzo Ball and – per SNY sources – Kyle Lowry – on the radar for the offseason.”

That is certainly a strong list of names. Lillard isn’t likely to go anywhere as he’s very loyal to Portland. However, all three of the other names mentioned should be in play for New York.

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Schroder Will Have Plenty of Suitors in Free Agency

When the Lakers traded for Schroder, it appeared as if the two sides would work out a contract extension before he hit free agency. For whatever reason, the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement and the guard has come out and said he’s going to wait until the offseason to sign a deal. He’s said that he’d like to stay with the team long term but that’s in question now.

It won’t be easy for the Lakers to keep Schroder as he’s likely to have many suitors in free agency. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski just recently reported that the Chicago Bulls will be showing the guard some interest this offseason. That makes two legit potential destinations for Schroder this offseason. If Los Angeles wants to keep him, it will be tough.

Brian Windhorst: Dennis Schroder has turned down an $84 million extension with Lakers | The JumpOn The Jump, Brian Windhorst discusses Dennis Schroder turning down a 4-year, $84 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kendrick Perkins says the Lakers should’ve gone “all-in” to trade for Kyle Lowry, because Schroder is a rental too. #NBA #Lakers #The Jump ☑️ Subscribe to ESPN+: 📱Get the ESPN App: 🏀 Subscribe…2021-03-30T20:10:07Z

Should Lakers Try to Keep Schroder?

The fact that contract negotiations have already fallen apart once between Schroder and the Lakers, it’s far from a guarantee he’ll return to the team. The guard is expected to get $20+ million annually on his next contract. Los Angeles can afford that number this offseason but that could lead to the team having to give up on other valuable players.

Keeping Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris and Andre Drummond could be worth letting Schroder walk. That said, he’s been a very important player for the Lakers. They do play better with him on the court. Having Schroder takes a lot of pressure off LeBron James to be the top playmaker on offense. The Lakers can’t spend too much on the guard but if they can keep him for around $20 million a year, they should make it happen.

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